A recent comment from good friend Uss got me thinking. He remarked that we have 222 friends in common on Facebook. I shifted from Orkut to Facebook over two years back because the number of people on my friends list was getting too big to handle. It had begun to hover around the four hundred mark and I was pretty sure I didn’t have so many friends. Not with my demeanour.
Facebook looked more exclusive and I decided start my virtual life anew. No more of the wild wanton Orkut days where every friend request had to be accepted unless it was a Brazilian whom I was pretty sure I hadn’t met. Now this was before the dastardly days of Mafia requests and Farmville invites. Facebook used to be a place where simple, sober people used to interact and the wildest anyone got was by throwing sheep or super poking someone. A complacency slowly crept in thanks to an increasingly misplaced sense of exclusiveness. That combined with a host of circumstances like electoral compulsions, graduation sensitivities, romantic liaisons, nostalgic affections and professional commitments made things worse resulting in the screening process for friend request reaching very deplorable limits. The only thing easier than getting into my friend list was sleeping with Tiger Woods.
Now things have come to a head. I can’t be comfortable with over five hundred people claiming to be my friend. What if they all decide to borrow money at the same time? And now that I am no longer fighting elections, have graduated, not getting hitched and beginning to lose memory, it is time to follow the world’s premier corporations in what they do best . Lay-offs. Right. I have decided to lay-off a huge part of my friends and slim down my friend-list. I need to be ready to face the challenges of the upcoming upturn with an elegant, tidy friend-list devoid of redundancy and surplus . In this age it helps to be ruthlessly professional about everything. Even your Facebook profile.
Thankfully I am not at a loss on how to execute this challenging task. My last few months have been spent closely observing how my own company does it and I have decided to replicate the process. I will call it F.O.R (Friendship Outsourcing Resource). This is how it will work.
• A list of the ‘indispensables’ will be created. They include EIC, MM, WOF, Shaastra core members, old comrades whose advice is valued, individuals whose references are valued, HNIs, brother and mom. They are exempted from the F.O.R process and need not bother. Their indispensability will however be reviewed every five years.
• One individual will be selected from each of the top Univs in the US depending on their ability to build networks in their campuses and their propensity to assist me in times of need. They are exempted from the F.O.R but their relevance will be reviewed on a quarterly basis. Friendship will be renewed from the first of April of every year depending on the annual appraisal report.
• The same will be done for all Fortune 500 contacts.
• All females are exempted. They form only 15% of the total numbers. Defunct relationships will be slowly phased out by the last quarter of 2010 and replaced with new initiatives. The idea is to keep the percentage at 15% and increased only in select cases when they seem to add intellect or glamour to the list.
• All foreigners (not NRIs) are exempted till I have travelled enough to believe having foreigners, who are just aquantainces on the list is not so cool anymore.
• Everybody else who do not fall under the above criterions will have to re-apply with a new friendship request with a note detailing why continuing our association online is a good idea and how it may further the individual social development of both.
• The requests will be scrutinized by me and the selected individuals will be offered a two year friendship deal. The deal will include mutually agreed upon commitments on the number of status message comments, likes, photo comments, wall posts and personality votes which we will deliver unto each others profiles. Once we are clear on the deliverables and agree to contract termination in event of Mafia/Farmville invites or reneging on the deliverables, we re-induct each other in our lists.
• There will be quite a few who don’t make the cut and they will be summarily receive a letter of regret. Every mail will be personalized because I believe lay-offs should always have a humane touch. A sample is given below.
It breaks my heart to say this but I think we should we on other people’s live feed from now on. Your contributions to my profile have been immense but as you can understand, to face society more confidently I need people with skills other than yours. Please feel free to call or meet me as long as it just once a year and it is in a public place.
Following the methodologies stated above, I hope to cut up to 60% of the names currently present. I understand everyone who will need to go through F.O.R are speculating exactly on what standards will the applications be evaluated. I want my friend list to get rid of its engineer & IIT focus and have a more diversified portfolio of individuals. I admit there will be an informal 2% quota for genuine sportsmen. People with a background in the arts with an understanding of Bernoulli’s theorem or vice versa have an edge over anyone with just one of the qualities.
We cannot predict whether this pink slip method will improve my social standing and give me more control over my virtual life. A committee of my alter-egos will go though the quarterly results and bring out a review in the annual Facebook profile report ‘Why do I have so much free time and what I do with it’. Pdfs will be mailed to anyone interested in going through it.
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